All right. Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke
chapter 19. Luke 19. And the title of my message is, “King for a Day.” We are going to
talk about what happened on that first Palm Sunday 2000 years ago. But let me begin with a question. What makes
you mad? Don’t say preachers that go too long. But really everybody has something that
irritates them. Now we display our anger in different ways. Some people just explode with
anger. Scream a little bit. Then they feel better afterwards. They calm down quickly.
Everybody else is devastated but they feel better. Other people are more like slow boil
and once they get up there it is hard to cool them down again. But we all have our boiling
point. We all have that one thing that maybe sets us off a little bit or things that at
least irritate us. I will just identify a few things that bug
me. I won’t say they make me mad necessarily but they bug me. A lot of them have to do
with cell phones. Ok. I was so excited when cell phones came out. I thought, “What a
great invention.” Now I have come to kind of hate them. Really. Everybody has them of
course. You know every person. They give them to small babies now. Dogs and cats. Everyone
has a cell phone. So they are pretty much everywhere you look. And here is what bugs
me. A person who has a cell phone turned up to the loudest ring and lets it ring five
times before they answer it. Why? And then when they answer it they are too loud. HELLO.
YEAH. Why are you yelling in the cell phone? And what is the deal with those things you
put in your ears. Now I know they are little Bluetooth devices so you can be on the phone
and be hands free. And I am for that. And by the way that is the law in California,
which will come as a shock to a lot of people because I still see a lot of people talking
on their cell phones. I will not talk on a cell phone when I am driving my car. But everyone
else seems to disregard this law. And you know so we have these little devices you put
on the ear. And I suppose that is efficient when you are driving. But then they wear them
afterwards. They wear them to church you know in the service the little blue light is going
off. They wear them in the shower. To bed. I don’t know. Is that supposed to impress
us? I don’t know. It is not a fashion accessory ok. I actually saw a guy the other day with one
in each ear. And I wondered what is going on here. Because first of all sometimes I
think people are talking to me when they are talking to someone else. They will have one.
They will go, “Hey how you doing.” “I am fine.” Then they will walk right by me.
What was? Oh you have one of those. Oh I see. And if you had one in each ear how do you
talk to two people? Hey how are you doing? Shut up. No. I love you. I hate you. I don’t
know. Depending on how the conversation could get very schizophrenic. But anyway. Cell phones
just drive me crazy. Ok. Here is another one. Why is it that when
I go to a takeout restaurant I am always behind the person buying the food for the entire
baseball team? And no one is behind me. It is just me and this person. And they give
them bag after bag. The van is lowering with all of the food. Why does that always happen
to me? ATM machines. Just a suggestion. Get your
card out when you are in line. You are going to use it in the ATM machine. I have actually
gotten it down to a point where I try to figure how quickly I can do it. I have gotten it
under a minute. I just walk in. Card in. Code. I am out. I am done. Other people it is like
they wait in line and then when they get their turn they have to find their card. Where is
the card? Could you have done this while you were waiting for the last 20 minutes? And
I am not going to say if it is guys or girls do this but girls going to through the purse.
Oh here it is. I don’t know. Why is it when I travel I always get seated
behind the one guy that feels he must recline for the entire flight? You know when you are
in coach you really shouldn’t recline. I will take it back one click. You are already
like this you know. One click. Click. That’s it. You know. But I am always behind the guy
all the way back. I look at his greasy scalp for the whole. Then I read recently that they
are looking to allow people to use cell phones in airplanes. Oh that is perfect. So now I
can get the guy with the greasy scalp with the Bluetooth device in each ear talking too
loudly and driving us all crazy. Do I sound bitter? Bitter. Party of one. Well yeah we have things that irritate us.
That bother us. It is not good to be angry. Actually a Harvard study done in 2006 revealed
that 10 million adult men in the United States are so angry they are sick. In fact their
disease has a name. It is IED–Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Another study was done
that revealed that bad tempered people are three times more likely to have heart attacks. We have all done something or said something
in a fit of anger we have come to regret later. Because anger makes you say and do things
you wish you had not done. One expert said, quote, “The angrier we get the more stupid
we become. When our emotional brain is in charge we see things in black and white and
we are likely to make stupid and damaging decisions.” Isn’t that true? Have you
ever said something and it felt so right saying it and then the adrenaline wears off and you
think to yourself, “What was I thinking?” Or worse yet that email that you sent off
in anger. You know you were like typing it. Can I make a suggestion? If that is how you
type the email do not hit send. Sit on it for at least a night. You might actually just
throw it in the trash and just feel better once you have vented a little bit. But once
that thing is in cyberspace there is no retrieving it. I know. You sent it. Then you think, “What
have I just done?” Go over to Google. How do I retrieve an email? Answer. You don’t.
I am an idiot. Having said all that, there are times when
it is good to be angry. You say, “Well how is that possible? Isn’t all anger bad?”
Not necessarily. There is something called righteous indignation. And before us here in Luke chapter 19 we are
going to look at a time when Jesus Christ, God incarnate, was angry. Real angry. So angry
in fact that He was overturning tables as He drove people away. We are also going to
see where Jesus wept. So in this chapter we are given a rare glimpse into the humanity
of Jesus who was fully God yet at the same fully man. He displayed anger. Righteous indignation.
As well as deep sorrow. Reminding us that He can sympathize with our weaknesses. Hebrews
5:15 says, “We don’t have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Today is Palm Sunday. And this text that we
are about to read is the account of what happened on Palm Sunday 2000 years ago and immediately
following. There was a sense, as we come into this story, that something big was about to
happen. Something significant was about to take place. There was an air of expectancy
and excitement. Why? Verse 11 tells us, “Because they believed that the kingdom of God would
appear immediately.” Now understand this. The general perception at the time was when
Messiah came He would establish His kingdom on earth. Which was not wrong. But they were
just missing a huge component of the role and the purpose of the Messiah. Indeed Scripture
teaches Messiah will come and establish His kingdom on earth. That is still in our future.
But Scripture also teaches that first Messiah would come and suffer and die for the sins
of the world. We find it in places like Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. But yet that was largely
lost on the people of this say. So they thought Jesus was the Messiah coming to overthrow
the tyranny of Rome and establish His kingdom. Thus they cried out, “Hosanna,” which
means save now. It was a glorious day. And then it seems as though things went awry.
But they didn’t go awry at all. He was doing exactly what He had come to do. Yes He was
their king but only for a day. That, by the way, is the title of this message. “King
for Day.” Because He did not meet their expectations. But Jesus was doing exactly what He had come
to do. Know this. The incarnation. That is the birth of Jesus was for the purpose of
the atonement. That is the death of Jesus. The birth of Jesus was so there would be the
death of Jesus. And the death of Jesus was so there would be the resurrection of Jesus.
And the death and resurrection of Jesus happened so we could live eternally and have our sins
forgiven. So the cross was His goal and destination from the very beginning. That is why Revelation
13:8 describes Christ as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. That means before
there was a planet called Earth or a garden called Eden or a man named Adam or a woman
named Eve a decision was made in the counsels of eternity that God would become a man and
go to a cross and die and rise again from the dead. The Lamb slain from the foundation
of the world. So it was clear that from the moment of His birth Jesus lived in the shadow
of the cross. It was clear that Christ was destined to die. And not only to die but to
die under the wrath of God. Let’s read now the account found here in
Luke 19 that describes Palm Sunday. Luke 19 Verse 37, “Then as He was drawing near the “Then, as He was now drawing near the descent
of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise
God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: “‘Blessed is the
King who comes in the name of the Lord!” Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’
And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd saying, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your
disciples.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep
silent, the stones would immediately cry out.’” Verse 41. “Now as He drew near, He saw the
city and wept over it saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day,
the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will
come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and
close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground;
and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time
of your visitation.’” Let’s pray together for a moment. Lord as
we come now to this great story of Palm Sunday help us to see what it means to us today.
Help us to grasp what took place when You wept and also displayed anger. Lord speak
to us from Your Word we would ask now. In Jesus’ name. Amen Now this action of Jesus riding into Jerusalem
on the back of a donkey was a real attention getter. You have to understand something.
That Christ was now saying the moment has arrived. You know Jesus would often touch
and heal people and He would say things like, “Don’t tell anyone. Keep this to yourself.”
Why? He would often say, “For my hour has not yet come.” What was He talking about?
He was talking about the hour of His death and resurrection. “My hour has not yet come.”
Well you know what? His hour has now come. So He deliberately comes into the city in
a very public way. A way designed to attract attention and also in a way to fulfill Bible
prophesy. Of course He comes riding on the donkey. This doesn’t make sense to us because
we would think that a conquering king the Messiah would come in on a White Arabian Stallion
or something like that. A donkey? You know that would be like having a big ticker-tape
parade and the guest of honor comes in a little Prius you know just driving. Sorry if you
are a Prius owner. Really sorry if you are a Prius owner. But I know you get good mileage.
It doesn’t stop so well. But still. But here is the thing. He rides a donkey because
in this culture it meant a lot. You need to understand that in these days when a Roman
general would return from war victorious he would come into the city riding on a donkey.
That was a way of saying, “I am a hero. We pulled it off. Welcome me.” So the Romans
understand what He was saying. He was saying, “I am a conquering hero.” And the Jews understood He was saying, “I
am the Messiah.” Why would they think that? Because Zechariah 9:9 says, “Rejoice greatly,
O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is
just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a ass, a colt, the foal of the ass.”
See He was fulfilling prophesy. For Malachi 3:1 says, “’Look! I am sending my messenger,
and he will prepare the way before me. And you will se me suddenly come into the Temple.
The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,’ says
the Lord God almighty.” He was forcing the authority’s hand. How so? Well you have
to understand at this moment Jesus was a wanted man. He had a price on His head. I don’t
know if there were like little you know flyers around town with a picture of Jesus. “Wanted
Dead or Alive: Jesus the Nazarene.” But He was wanted. And He knew He was wanted.
But just to show you that He was in control of everything that was happening He comes
marching into town not as a helpless victim unaware of what lies ahead but as a powerful
victor marching bravely into battle. “Blessed is He that comes in the name of
the Lord” the people say in verse 38. Another gospel tells us they cried out, “Hosanna,”
which means save now. So on the surface it was a very happy day. The disciples’ hearts
must have been leaping for joy as the masses were seeing what they knew all along. That
Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. This is it. You know they had known He was the Messiah.
But now everyone is getting it. And they are happy. There is like a big party going on.
You can almost see the people all Celebrate good times. Come on. Oh by the way I hate
that song. How many of you hate that song? Raise your hand. How many of you like the
song? Raise your hand. Really? You like it. Come up here. I want to pray for you. Sir
do you drive a Prius? No. I am kidding. Ok. Let me just make it worse. Do you have a cat?
Oh. I am going to get the letters. People can I just tell you something. I am joking. You see they wanted Jesus as their king as
long as it was on their terms. They wanted a deliverer and a Messiah that would conform
to their plan instead of they to His. They wanted Jesus to destroy Rome. Not their cherished
sins or their hypocritical superficial religion. There are a lot of people like this today.
Oh yeah. They will sing the praises of a Jesus that will give them wealth and success and
personal happiness. But they recoil from the idea of a God that would ask for obedience,
commitment, and sacrifice. Like the multitude at the triumphal entry they will loudly acclaim
Jesus as long as they believe He will satisfy their selfish desires. But yet this same multitude turned on Him
only days later. The same people crying, “Hosanna” on Sunday were saying, “Crucify Him” on
Friday. What happened? What happened was they didn’t understand who God was. They just
understood what they wanted Him to be. You know we like God as long as God fits into
our plans. But the moment He does something we don’t like we will say, “Well I don’t
like this at all. In fact I am mad at God.” I have heard people say, “I am mad at God.”
Really? You are mad at God. “Yes I am. And I think I probably should forgive Him but
I am mad.” You have no right to be mad at God. Who do you think you are? Here is what God says in Romans 9:33, “Who
in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of
us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that
mold it, saying, ‘Why did you shape me like this?’” He is the potter. You are the
clay. He is the Shepherd. You are the sheep. He is the vine. You are the branches. He is
the giver. You are the recipient. He is God. And you are a punk. You are. And I am too.
It is ridiculous for us to say, “I am mad at God.” Now if you were to say to me, “Well I am
hurt and I don’t understand why something happened” I can understand that. If you
say to me, “I don’t understand God” I can see that. If you would even say to me,
“I have asked God” I understand that. I just talked to a lady in our bookstore last
service and her young boy was killed an accident. And she said, “I have said why many times.”
I said, “I understand.” After our son went to be with the Lord in
2008 in a message I gave that was later aired on radio I said, “There is nothing wrong
with asking God why.” A man wrote me and said, “You don’t know how much those words
helped because you see my son was murdered.” And he says, And I could not understand it.”
And you know Christians come with trite little sayings when something like this happens.
And a lot of times they don’t help at all. They actually kind of hurt. They will say,
“Well you know God had a purpose in it and all things work together for good to those
that love God.” Well Greg what are you saying? It is wrong to quote the Scripture. No. It
is right to quote it. But there is a time and a place for everything. And sometimes
will come with a little smile on their face and the quick verse to quote. And you know
what? It is just not the time. When someone’s son is murdered. And this man said to me,
“When you said it is ok to ask God why it was so helpful to me.” And since then he
has forgiven the person who murdered his son. Who came to faith by the way shortly before
he died. And this man now is trusting the Lord knowing He will see his son again. But here is my point. Even Jesus said, “My
God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” It is ok to not understand. It is ok to question.
But don’t tell me you are mad at God. Or others will say, “Well I have lost my
faith. You know this bad thing happened. I have just lost my faith.” Can I respectfully
say then you never had real faith to begin with. A faith that can be lost is no faith
at all. As Randy Alcorn has said, and I quote, “A faith that can’t be shaken is the faith
that has been shaken.” Again. “A faith that can’t be shaken is the faith that has
been shaken.” You see you are going to be tested in your faith as life passes by. And
if your faith is genuine it will not go away or dissipate and you will not lose it. It
will actually grow stronger through times of difficulty. Yeah. But we get upset with God because we
don’t like what He does. Here is something that we may not like. A quote from Chuck Swindoll.
I guess I will blame it on him. But it is a good quote. He says, “God is able to do
what He pleases with whomever He chooses whenever He wishes.” “God is able to do what He
pleases with whomever He chooses whenever He wishes.” This is called the sovereignty
of God. We don’t always like it. Because it is not what we want. God can do what He
wants when He wants to do it. So these people were misunderstanding the
role and mission of Jesus. So He comes in. They are celebrating. They are laughing. They
are cheering. They are having a great time. And what is Jesus doing? Look at verse 41.
He saw the city and He wept over it. Here is the crowd whipped into a frenzy and Jesus
is weeping. The crowd is rejoicing and Christ is sobbing. By the way this is the second
time Jesus wept openly. At least that we know of in Scripture. I am sure there were others. But the other time was at the tomb of Lazarus.
We have the shortest verse in the Bible. “Jesus wept.” You remember. He came to that tomb.
The people were gathered as good friends Mary and Martha. Lazarus was His friend as well.
He spent a lot of time in their home. And He joined the crowd in weeping just as He
weeps with us in sympathy when we have lost a loved one. He shares in that sorrow. But maybe another reason Jesus wept was for
poor Lazarus. You say, “Why would He weep for Lazarus?” Because he was in heaven.
No. No. That was the great thing. The sad thing was Lazarus was going to have leave
heaven and come back to earth. Oh no. Poor Lazarus. Lazarus come forth. Can you imagine
being Lazarus? You are in glory. You are in heaven. It is great. And the Father says,
“Buddy I have some good news and some bad news.” “What is the good news?” “You
will be coming back.” “What is the bad news?” “Jesus is calling and you have
got to go.” And back he is on earth. And not on earth any time special. I mean not
on earth in a time maybe that would be more desirable. He is on the earth in the first
century. Those were tough times to be alive. But there He saw the faith of Jesus. I am
sure that more than compensated for it. He wept. Why did Jesus weep? He wept because
His ministry was almost over. Time was short. And by and large He had been rejected. He
had healed their sick. He had raised their dead. He had cleansed their lepers. He had
fed their hungry. He forgave their sins. And yet He remained mostly alone and rejected.
Scripture says, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” Not only that but being God and having omniscience,
all knowledge, He knew that one of His own hand-picked disciples Judas would betray Him.
He knew another would deny Him. Simon Peter. He knew that Caiaphas the high priest would
conspire with Pilate the Roman Governor to bring about His death. He knew these fickle
people saying Hosanna would soon be saying Crucify Him. But most of all He knew their
future. The future of Jerusalem. And it wasn’t pretty. Looking ahead He saw the destruction
that would come upon Jerusalem in 40 years. Because we know looking back now historically
in 70 A. D. the Roman legions came in led by Titus and after a siege of 143 days killed
600,000 Jews and took thousands captive. The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that during
that time rivers of blood flowed through the gates of the city as the beloved temple was
burned to the ground. And because of the gold that was in the temple melted into the crevices
of the rocks a result of the fire it was taken down stone by stone fulfilling to a T the
prediction of Jesus. He wept. He wept because He was being rejected. This breaks His heart.
And it still does. Unbelief and rejection breaks God’s heart. Why? Because He knows
the consequences. Yes the Lord placed the planets in orbit.
He made the light shine out of the darkness. But when the door of the human heart is shut
He refuses to enter forcibly. He will only knock wanting to gain admittance. But when
He is denied knowing the repercussions that will follow His heart is broken. Jesus says,
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If you will hear My voice and open the door,
I will come in.” He does not say, “Behold I stand at the door and knock and I will huff
and puff and blow the door down.” Like the big bad wolf. Nor does He says, “I stand
at the door and knock and if you don’t open it I will kick it in because I want to.”
No. He waits for us to welcome Him in. To open our hearts. To receive Him. And when
we don’t it breaks His heart because listen. God will not violate human will. Even if that
choice is wrong. He won’t violate it. He has given us the ability to choose. But when
we choose the wrong thing it breaks His heart because He knows the repercussions. Some will
come in this life as we sin and disobey God and reap the consequences. And in the life
to come as we are eternally separated from Him. It hurts when someone rejects what you believe.
When you tell them all about what Jesus has done for you and they laugh in your face.
Or they insult you. Or they curse you. Or they turn and walk away. That hurts doesn’t
it? And it hurts the Lord. That is why He wept. But after this weeping He was going to fulfill
His purpose. Now we know that after this Jesus entered into the temple. He looked around.
He assessed the situation. And then returned to Bethany to spend the night with friends.
The following morning He returns and takes action. WE have seen what makes God weep.
Now let’s see what makes God angry. Go back to Luke 19 verse 45. “And He went
into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them,
‘It is written, “My house is a house of prayer,” but you have made it a “den of
thieves.”’ And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes,
and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, and were unable to do anything; for all
the people were very attentive to hear Him.” Now what was this all about? Was this an explosion
of anger? Jesus having a temper tantrum? Hardly. It was righteous indignation. He goes into
the temple. He assesses the situation. The Jesus of the New Testament was strong.
Well how do you know that Greg? Well He was a carpenter by trade. He built things. He
built chairs and tables and houses and carts. He worked hard. Also we know that when He
stood before Pontius Pilate and Pilate decided to scourge Him and He took it afterwards Pilate
pointed to the scourged, beaten, bloodied Jesus who still stood in His own power and
he said, “Ecce homo” which means, “Behold the man.” Jesus was the man. He was a man’s
man really. He carried a 400 pound cross on His shoulder after being scourged through
the streets of Jerusalem. Let’s see you bodybuilders pull that off. Yeah. He was a
man. So He overturned tables. And these were big
tables. And by the way you want to make a point overturn a table. If you are in a restaurant
and don’t like your food. I mean you know what will happen. You will get thrown out.
You will probably get arrested. You will certainly make a point. “I didn’t like this omelet.”
Yeah. But you see you have seen it in so many westerns.
It is like it makes me laugh whenever I watch a western because there are certain things
that are the same in all westerns. For instance in the saloon ok. You go through those doors.
And here is what you always see. There is the bar and there is the barkeep you know
usually kind of cleaning the bar. And a couple of cowboys sitting there you know. And then
there is always the piano player. Now he always wears a little derby hat. Right. It is just
the law of westerns. And he has a little garter belt here playing his theme. A little upright
piano. Has to be an upright piano. And it is always that stupid song he is playing.
Ok now. Over to the table where the guys are gambling. One of the cowboys looks at the
other and says, “You are cheating.” “I ain’t cheating.” “Yes you are.” He
turns the table over. The cards and chips go flying. The piano player always stops.
He dives under a table. Fistfights break out. Guns start firing. You have seen this scene. It is a violent act to overturn a table and
Jesus knew it. He was provoking them. But how does this square with the statement of
Christ in Matthew 11:29 when He says, “I am meek and humble in heart.” I think that
is why in religious art Jesus always looks so meek. You know really He looks weak doesn’t
He? Weak. I won’t hurt you. That is not Jesus. He is meek. See it is because people
don’t know what meekness is. Meekness is not weakness. Like let’s say you are a scrawny little
dude and some muscular guy kicks sand in your face on the beach. You know like those little
things in the back of comic books when I was a kid. Always something to tell you how you
could get in shape. And the little guy doesn’t fight back. Why? Because he can’t. Ok. So let’s say some bully picks on you and
you don’t strike back. Is that because you are meek. No. It is because you are afraid.
And you are weak. And you don’t have the ability to stop him. But let’s say you are trained in mixed marshal
arts. And the guy harasses you and you don’t strike back. Is that because you are meek?
Weak? No. That is because you are meek. Because meekness means power under constraint. It
is the idea of a horse, a mighty stallion, and you have the bit in and you pull it in
and you are controlling the power. That is the idea of meekness. Jesus reined it in. No. I am not going to
strike back. You know when they arrested Him in Gethsemane and led Him away in chains do
you think those chains could hold Him? They would be like tissue. He could have just gone.
Oh no. What are you going to do to Me now? Oh you are going to come at Me with those
swords? What am I going to do? Peter help Me. To show you His power when they came into
Gethsemane to arrest Him He said, “Whom do you seek?” They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
He said, “I am.” That is the same God that said, “Let there be light” and there
was light.” I am.” “And it says they all fell backwards. I mean can you see that
scene. There they were with their swords and their spears and their shields. Like dominoes
collapsing on the ground. He could have said, “I am. And you were. Bye.” Problem over. No. It was meekness. He did not defend Himself.
He went to the cross for our sins. But here He displays anger. Why? Because these people
were keeping others from God. You say, “I don’t understand.” Ok. Here is how it
worked. In the temple they had an outer area called the court of the Gentiles. I don’t
know if you realize this but it was God’s desire that not only His people in covenant
with Him, the Jews, would have a relationship with Him but He extended His grace to the
Gentiles as well. Because in Isaiah 56:6–8 it says. God speaking. “I will bless the
Gentiles who commit themselves to the Lord and serve Him and love His name and worship
Him and don’t desecrate the Sabbath. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices
because My temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” And that is what
Jesus is citing. He is saying, “This is supposed to be a house of prayer and you have
turned it into a den of iniquity.” See here is the idea. These people were ripping
others off and keeping them from God. Instead of praying for the people they were preying
on the people. Preying on them. Here is the way it worked. They had a little racket going
where no matter what kind of an animal you brought in for your sacrifice they would find
something wrong with it even if it was fine. “Oh I am sorry. There is a little blemish
on this. We can’t accept this. You can’t bring this into the temple. But we are having
a special closeout deal on preapproved sacrifices that we will give to you at a marked up price.”
Jesus saw this and it made Him angry. What makes God angry? God is angry when people
stand in the way of sinners coming to know Him. And this happens in the church too. For sure.
Sometimes people come for the first time and you know they don’t know the protocol of
church. They don’t know the dress code of church. So maybe they come dressed in a way
that you know would not seem to be totally appropriate. So you sort of look down on them.
“Look at the way that girl is dressed. That’s right for a Christian girl.” How do you
know she is a Christian girl? “Well she is in church.” Guess what? Nonbelievers
come to church. “Yeah but look at the.” Hold on now. Your little look. Your attitude
could actually hinder her from coming to know the Lord. Let’s not get the cart before
the horse ok. Or maybe someone comes in with a t-shirt. They have a slogan. “I can’t.
That is. Oh. Do you see how tatted up? What is with all of the piercings?” Hey what
is with you? What is with you coming down on people that need to know God? You see God
doesn’t like it when we get in the way of others coming to know Him. The church is not
supposed to be a museum for saints. It is supposed to be a hospital for sinners. A place
for people to come and know God. Now I believe when a person really meets Jesus
and He transforms their life it will impact them in every area of their life. The way
they think. The way they act. Sure even the way they dress. That all will come in time.
But for now let’s just try to get people to God. Let’s not stop them from coming
to God. Let me throw in one other thing. Now I said
things that tick me off. This actually makes me mad. And I am serious. And this really
fits the point I am making. It is when people are coming forward to respond to the invitation
to accept Christ and they have to go around Christians who are leaving early. You know
what I am talking about? Because you feel like, “Well this would be a good time to
go and get in my car now because I hate to fight the crowds.” And so I stand here at
this pulpit and I look at that back door as I am giving an invitation. And you stand up
and slowly make your way out as people are coming down the aisle. And they actually have
to go around you to come forward and make a commitment to Christ. Now if you have an
emergency and you have to get out by all means please do. But other than that would you please
stay seated and not get in the way of people coming to Christ? And if you are sitting next
to a person grabbing their coat just say, “Don’t do that. Just stay.” You know
be respectful. Because what does that say to a nonbeliever.
Here they are. They have managed to muster up the courage to walk down an aisle in front
of a bunch of strangers and stand in front of some weird bald creature and pray a prayer.
God bless them. And they have come all this distance. And they are having to go around
you. What does that say about you? Well what it looks like it is saying. Maybe you don’t
intend this. But it looks like you are saying, “I really could care less. I want to just
get out of here early.” You know what? If you want to get out of here early why don’t
you sit in the back row or sit outside and then you can leave and it won’t create as
much of a distraction. Think about that. Because here is the question to ask yourself.
Are you a bridge or a barrier to people coming to Jesus? Are you getting in the way or are
you helping them along the way? Here is another question. What kind of a witness
are you? Now listen. You are a witness. The question is are you a good one or a bad one.
Because people are watching you. They are watching me. Let’s make sure that we are
bridges not barriers to people coming to Jesus. Because when we get in the way that makes
God angry. Well what does Jesus do? He goes in and He
cleanses the temple. And here is an interesting little twist on the story. This is the second
time He did it. The first time is recorded in the Gospel of John. And that time He used
a whip. Hello. A whip He made Himself. And drove them out. But now He is back again.
Why? Well I am sure after He cleansed it the first time it was a clean house. But then
a little time passes and one guy sets his table up again. Another guy sets his up. Pretty
soon there are 10 more. Twenty more. Maybe even more than there were before. So He has
to re-cleanse the temple again. In the same way when we first come to Christ
changes happen. Filthy habits are banished. A new purpose and focus grips our life. But
as time passes sometimes some of those old things find their way back into our lives.
Those little sins so-called take root and begin to grow again and are lives are cluttered
with things that don’t belong. So Jesus comes back and is ready to clean house. It is spring now. And one of the things that
people often do this time of the year is spring cleaning. Right. I wonder if some of us could
use a little spring cleaning in our lives because there are some messes. There are some
things that don’t belong. Some things that are cluttering our hearts spiritually. I don’t know about you but by nature I am
a messy person. But the weird thing is I don’t like to be in messy environments, which is
very frustrating. Because I created the places I am in and make them messy. But you know
I am busy. If I am cooking I don’t want to clean. I want to eat it. Clean it later.
You know if I am working on a message I have books piled up and papers and it is a big
mess. I will get to it later. Now my wife is the polar opposite of me. She
is always cleaning. In fact after she cooks she is cleaning before she will even eat the
food. I will say, “Cathe, the food is getting cold.” She says, “You go ahead and eat.
I want to just clean.” I think she actually likes to clean. You know she will make the
bed. When I am in it still sometimes. That is why I haven’t been here sometimes on
Sundays. I was trapped. In very clean sheets. She is always cleaning. She never stops cleaning.
She straightens up constantly. She has three piles. Keep. Give Away. Throw away. So put
it in one of those piles. Which one? I don’t know. I want to hold on. Throw it away. No.
No. Don’t throw it away. Keep it. Well ok I will keep it. You are keeping too much.
Give it away. No I don’t want to give it away. You know it is a struggle. We are like little pack rats. So all of this
stuff starts building up in our lives. Now I am talking about sins. I am talking about
things that don’t belong. And instead of dealing with it on a daily basis you let it
build up until you are effectively having a spiritual crisis in your life. That is because
you have gone about it in the Greg way of cleaning, which is the wrong way. It is the
procrastinator’s way. It is the mentality never do today what you can put off until
tomorrow. So we will let things build up in our lives. And then if you are smart you will do it the
Cathe way which is constantly confessing your sin before God. Because guess what? You sin
every single day. “Not me.” Well you just sinned when you said that. So there you go.
You have already got your sin. “What do you mean? You can’t.” Oh yeah. You do.
Trust me. The Bible even says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the
truth is not in us.” Because sin is not just the breaking of a commandment doing what
is wrong. It is not doing what I am supposed to do. Right. The sin of omission. To him
that knows to do good and does not do it to him it is sin. So we all sin. It is sort of like when I wear white pants
like I am wearing today. White pants. Now here is what I notice whenever I wear white
pants I always have like little marks and stains on them. Because I walk by and I rub
against the tire of the car and a black thing there. And I drop. Why is it I always spill
when I am wearing white pants I will say? You know what? I spill all the time. I just
don’t see it most of the time. Because 99% of the time I wear dark jeans and they just
sort of absorb everything. But you know what? I think I spill as much on my jeans as I do
on my white pants. But white pants display dirt. So in the same way when we are going through
life we say, “Well I don’t really think I am sinning that much.” But actually you
are. So here is what you need to do. You need to confess it to God. 1 John 1:8–9 says,
“If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess
our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Maybe you have come here today with a lot
of problems. I don’t know what to do you think to yourself. I don’t know how to sort
this out. I have this addiction. I have this problem. I have this vice. And I have tried
to change but I can’t. What do I do? You say, “Jesus clean house. Lord help me.”
You don’t say, “I will clean my life up and come to God.” No. You come to God and
let Him clean your life up. And as we close today in prayer I would like
to invite you to come to Jesus. Because maybe you have joined us here today and you don’t
know God in a personal way. You don’t have this hope of heaven when you die. You have
a big old hole in your heart that you have tried to fill with all of the things this
world offers. To no avail. Meanwhile here is Jesus who died on the cross for you and
paid the price for every sin you have ever committed. And He rose again from the dead.
And Jesus Christ stands at the door of your life and He knocks and says if you will hear
His voice and open the door He will come in. Would you like to ask Jesus to come into your
life today? Maybe there are some of you that have known
the Lord and have fallen away. You have allowed a bunch of junk back into your life that does
not belong. You need to make a recommitment to Christ. Whatever your need is respond to
this invitation right now if you want to get right with God. Let’s all bow our heads for a prayer. Father
I pray for every person listening to this message wherever they are. Speak to their
heart. Bring about the conviction in their heart from Your Spirit. Let them see their
need for Jesus and help them to come to You now we pray.